HC to hear AAP plea over complaint against Dikshit

sheila dixshitThe Delhi High Court Monday decided to hear a plea by the now former AAP government to withdraw an earlier petition against a trial court order for lodging a complaint against former chief minister Sheila Dikshit for alleged misusing government funds ahead of the 2008 assembly polls.

Justice V.P. Vaish posted the matter for Feb 26 after the city government counsel informed the court that another judge has already heard and reserved the verdict on the issue.

The application, seeking withdrawal of the plea, said: “The cabinet has taken a decision that it has no more locus to defend Sheila Dikshit. The Lt. Governor has also approved the cabinet decision.”

The plea filed Feb 14, hours before Arvind Kejriwal resigned from the post of Delhi chief minister, said the cabinet has taken a decision that in corruption cases, the government will not defend anyone.

Since Dikshit is not holding any government post, no sanction would be required to prosecute her.

Last year, the Dikshit government had moved the high court, seeking quashing of a trial court order for ordering a First Information Report against her. The high court then stayed the registration of FIR against Dikshit.

The special court, Aug 31, directed Delhi Police to register an FIR against Dikshit on the complaint of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijender Gupta and a similar plea of Right to Information activist Vivek Garg, alleging that Dikshit had misused Rs.22.56 crore in government funds in an advertisement campaign prior to the 2008 polls.

They sought registration of FIR against Dikshit and others for alleged criminal breach of trust (section 409 of the Indian Penal Code), criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It said Dikshit was chief minister and also minister in-charge of information and publicity when the alleged fund misuse took place in 2007-08.

Gupta, in his complaint, said it was an election year and a number of government advertisements were published in newspapers.

The BJP leader said he filed a complaint before Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin, who indicted Dikshit for misusing government funds for carrying out an advertisement campaign with a “political purpose” ahead of the polls.

He said the Lokayukta recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds and to “advise” her to reimburse either by herself or through her party a sum of Rs.11 crore as half the cost of the advertisements in 2008 or any amount the president found adequate.